Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines played 90 minutes as Everton picked up a goalless draw against a gritty Cardiff.
The Toffees pair are transfer targets for former boss David Moyes at Manchester United, but the Scot's Goodison Park successor Roberto Martinez had no hesitation in including them at Cardiff City Stadium.
There was no lack of commitment from the pair in a full-blooded contest, although Cardiff will unquestionably be the happier with the point after being penned back for long periods.
Kevin Mirallas wasted two great Everton chances and David Marshall brilliantly saved a deflected Nikica Jelavic header, while the visitors were left scratching their heads at how they were not awarded a first-half penalty for Gary Medel's rash challenge on Baines.
Cardiff created little; skipper Craig Bellamy took too strong a touch when rounding Tim Howard, with the Everton goalkeeper also beating out a Peter Whittingham corner.
There had been a spring in the step and a bite in the Cardiff challenges in the early exchanges as they looked to unsettle their visitors as they had Manchester City six days earlier.
It made for an uncompromising opening and the first moment of any true quality only arrived when Steven Pienaar's exquisite drag-back took three defenders out of the game, but Ross Barkley could not make the most of the chance.
Corners had played a key part in Cardiff's victory over City and they almost repeated the trick when Whittingham's inswinger almost caught Howard off guard, but the American recovered just in time to bat the ball away.
But Everton also proved dangerous at free-kicks, and Mirallas and Phil Jagielka ought to have done better from headed opportunities.
Mirallas also glanced wastefully wide when picked out by Jelavic's pint-point cross as Everton took a hold on proceedings.